Snoring in Children

This page is for Snoring in CHILDREN

Click here for Snoring in ADULTS

Click here for info on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) in adults

  • Does your child snore?
  • Does your child sleep with the mouth open?
  • Does your child suffer from poor quality/ restless sleep?
  • Would you like your child to stop snoring?
  • Would you like your child to enjoy better quality sleep?

Read this page to find out how to stop your child’s snoring and improve their sleep quality

What causes snoring in children?

Snoring is caused by blockage of the air passages during sleep.

Where does the blockage occur?

Blockage can occur at one or more sites.

In children, sites where blockage can occur include:

  • The adenoids
  • The tonsils
  • The nose
    • Large inferior turbinates
    • Allergy (Hayfever)
    • Deviated septum

Can anything else contribute to snoring in children?

Snoring in children can be made worse by the following:

  • Rare anatomical conditions and syndromes from birth
  • Certain conditions within the central nervous system

Is snoring in children different to snoring in adults?

Snoring in children is VERY DIFFERENT to snoring in adults.

In children, >95% of snoring is due to large adenoids, large tonsils, large inferior turbinates and/or allergy. In adults, there are many possible causes.

In children, almost all cases of snoring due to anatomical blockage can be completely cured with surgery, often with simple day-surgery. In adults, treatment may be more complex.

Is snoring harmful for children?

Occasional mild snoring in children is probably harmless.

Regular snoring and sleep disturbance in children may lead to the following behaviour problems:

  • Hyperactivity/ crankiness/ irritability
  • Inattention
  • Aggression/ temper tantrums
  • Difficulties with learning, memory, concentration and problem-solving

Very severe cases of snoring with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) may lead to:

  • Developmental delay
  • Growth failure
  • Lung problems

How can I find out what is causing my child’s snoring?

Always see your GP first. Your GP will look inside your child’s nose and mouth and may order some tests or prescribe some treatments. If your GP cannot fix your child’s snoring, ask your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh and call us to make an appointment.

What if my GP can't find the cause of my child’s snoring?

Ask your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh.

How can Dr Singh find out what is causing my child’s snoring?

Dr Singh specialises in treating snoring in children. Dr Singh uses special tests to find out exactly what is causing your child’s snoring.

What tests can Dr Singh perform?

Dr Singh will examine your child’s nose, mouth and throat using special instruments.

Dr Singh will pass a special super-fine camera into your child’s nose to look at the septum, turbinates, adenoids and tonsils (everything is made numb first using a special numbing spray). You can watch the camera on a TV monitor and see for yourself exactly what is causing your child’s snoring.

Dr Singh may also order allergy tests and nasal airflow tests. Occasionally, it may be necessary to arrange a sleep study.

Our practice is unique as we have a trained nurse in-house along with all the equipment required to perform these tests on-site. This avoids the need for multiple appointments at multiple locations.

Despite all the tests and high-technology available, the most accurate tool is your doctor's knowledge, training and experience!

Can my child’s snoring be fixed?


In almost every case of snoring in children, the cause can be found and treated.

How is snoring treated?

The treatment used will depend on the cause.

Anatomical blockages can be fixed with surgery. Dr Singh specialises in correcting all of the blockages in one combined procedure. Your child will be asleep during the procedure (general anaesthetic). Please follow the links to find out more about each procedure:


  • Large Adenoids: These are fixed with an Adenoidectomy operation



Are there any alternative treatments to surgery?

Yes. There are always options and it is always your choice as to whether to have surgery. In general, you can try other options first and choose surgery if nothing else works. Non-surgical options include:

  1. Do Nothing. If your child’s problem is not severe, you may choose not to have any treatment at all.
  2. Medications. If your child has allergy (hayfever), you can try Nasal steroid sprays and antihistamine tablets/ sprays from your pharmacy or from your GP. They work best for children with allergy but may sometimes help children without allergy. For children with allergy, desensitisation (immunotherapy) can also be used.
  3. CPAP: This is high-pressure air that is forced into the nose and mouth using a mask strapped to the face every night. It is used very rarely for children with severe obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) that does not respond to surgery or is due to an uncommon "central" cause. CPAP is not typically required for children with simple snoring alone, who can usually be cured with surgery. If your child needs CPAP, you will be referred to a specialist paediatric sleep physician by Dr Singh or your GP
  4. Unproven treatments (eg anti-snoring pillows, magnetic pillows, anti-snoring rings, accu-pressure rings, anti-snoring herbs, anti-snoring aromatherapy, anti-snoring throat and nose sprays, special breathing techniques, books which claim to teach you to stop snoring): There is very little to no scientific evidence that any of these treatments work. You may choose to try these treatments, but, in general they are usually not effective.

We recommend that you see your GP first and consider trying these non-surgical options (1-3). Then see Dr Singh when you are ready for surgery. There is a long waiting list to see Dr Singh and it is best if you see Dr Singh for surgery after the non-surgical treatments have failed.

Are there any risks to surgery?

Yes. Everything we do in life has risks. Even something as simple as crossing the street has risks… but we still cross the street. Dr Singh will explain the risks of your operation and provide you with an information pamphlet that explains the risks in detail. If you have any questions about risks, ask Dr Singh during your consultation.

Does my child need a sleep study first?

For simple snoring in an otherwise well child a sleep study is usually NOT needed and can be stressful for a young child. The child has to stay in a hospital overnight with lots of wires stuck on their face, arms, legs and chest, as well as tubes stuck in their nose. Even if the sleep study shows the child has sleep apnoea, this makes no difference as the treatment is exactly the same as listed above (adenoids/ tonsils/ turbinates/ allergy).

A sleep study is usually only required in a few rare situations, such as where the child:

  • Has already undergone successful surgery and allergy treatment but is still snoring
  • Has a syndrome (eg Down’s syndrome) or anatomical problems since birth
  • Has complex medical problems (eg cardiac/respiratory abnormalities)
  • Is at risk of central sleep apnoea (eg: Neurological problems)

What should I do next?

See your GP. If your GP is unable to fix your child’s snoring, ask your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh

I have already seen a doctor - I was told nothing could be done for my child’s snoring. What should I do?

Almost every case of snoring in children can be fixed or significantly improved. Dr Singh specialises in treating snoring in children and has expertise in difficult and complex cases.

Consider asking your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh.

I have already seen a surgeon and my child had an operation. It didn't work! What should I do?

Almost every case of snoring in children can be fixed or significantly improved. Dr Singh specialises in treating snoring in children and has expertise in difficult and complex cases.

We recommend that you consider returning to see your original surgeon first. If nothing further can be done and your child is still have problems, consider asking your original surgeon or your GP for a referral to see Dr Singh. Dr Singh always works together with your GP and your other specialists to achieve your best health outcome.

Disclaimer: The material on this page represents general information only and is NOT medical advice. For specific medical advice about your individual circumstances you must consult a trained medical practitioner. Always see your GP first. If your GP is unable to resolve your health problem, ask your GP for a referral to Dr Singh. Dr Singh always works together with you and your GP to achieve your best health outcome.

Important: Do not try to diagnose your medical problem by yourself! Do not rely solely on information found on the internet. Always see your GP first.

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